Here, lately, there have been days when I wondered if the warmer weather would ever get here. Right now, it may not seem like it, but have no fear when it arrives, it will be with a vengeance. When it does arrive, it will warm up quickly. This along with the higher humidity will be the perfect combination for nasty weather and of course, tougher fishing conditions.
This is the time of the year, when fish will have to adjust with numerous conditions. These will include low water, high water, rising water temperatures, rising, falling barometric pressure and the summer’s bright sunlight all making walleye fishing during this time of the year, the Dog Days of summer tough.
Anglers are going to need to adjust, heading for areas with deeper water, those with less sunlight penetration as this is where the fish will be located when temperatures heat up. With the rise in water temperatures, walleyes and other species of fish will head deep, searching out comfortable water temperatures.
These deep-water haunts provide the cooler water temperature the fish need to survive when things heat up. Another reason is their food source, the baitfish has moved down, bringing the predator fish with them.
There are several methods allowing you to take these Deep-Water fish; those that have worked well for me are leadcore line, snap weights or downriggers pulling crankbaits. During this time of the year, the movement of the fish can vary drastically, especially just prior to a sever weather change.
Fish can detect a change of weather well before it happens using their lateral line, which is a series of sensitive nerve endings extending from behind the gills to their tail.
Since they know that a sever weather change is about to occur, walleyes and other species of fish will go on a feeding binge prior to the arrival of the storm, then move deep, lying dormant on the bottom until weather conditions stabilize. If you are unfortunate to have to fish these dormant fish after a storm has passed through, you will need a lot of patience and a precise bait presentation, such as a Northland Roach Rig.
I’ve had my best luck on these inactive fish by presenting my bait right in front of the walleyes nose and staying there until I make them mad enough to bite. Since the sun is at its highest point this time of the year and walleyes are very light sensitive, they’re going to be more active in periods where sunlight penetration is minimal. These periods include early morning, late evening, when the sun is at its lowest point, with les sunlight penetration.
Not all walleyes will stay deep throughout the day, as there are times when conditions are right, walleyes are caught shallow. One of these is on those very windy days as there is a good chance walleyes will move up shallow to feed in the on top of humps rock piles and sandbars. Because the surface of the water is being rippled by the wind, reducing the sunlight’s penetration, it makes the shallow water areas more comfortable and walleyes will move up from the deep water to feed.
Another time that you’ll find walleyes shallow during the day would be when heavy winds are pounding into a point or shoreline. With the wind hammering against a shoreline, a mud line will develop, dramatically cutting light penetration along the shoreline. It may seem hard to believe that even walleyes would be able to find bait in the muddy coming back off a shoreline. Just because it is muddy on the first couple of inches does not mean it is that way the way to the bottom. In many cases, the water a foot or so below this mud line is cloudy or even clear allowing walleyes the opportunity to move up during the day and feed.
In a river, fish will also be in the deepest holes or in shallower areas where there is heavier current as heavy current cools and oxygenates the water making it a more hospitable environment for walleyes. During the heat of the summer in a river, an increase or decrease in water will cause fish to make sudden location changes. With a drop in water levels, fish will be forced into the remaining deep holes, concentrating them in smaller areas. If there is an increase in water flow, fish will move up stream, up against the sandbars and shallower to feed, taking advantage of the new influx of baitfish and other aquatic creatures being flushed into the system.
The “Hot” Dog Days of summer usually mean deep-water presentations, but under the right conditions, walleyes can be shallow giving anglers the opportunity to fish them with bottom bouncers and spinners, Roach Rigs or by pitching jigs and crankbaits.